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Kirby, Willian feature as England, Brazil advance to World Cup, Copa América semifinals

Great success!

Norway v England: Quarter Final - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Women’s World Cup is down to the last eight ... last seven in fact after last night’s straightforward 3-0 win for England over Norway. England scored inside of five minutes, added a second just before half-time, and wrapped it up early in the second-half with a third. There was even room for a missed penalty at the end. Norway wasted all their chances; England made theirs count at all the right times in what was probably their best performance so far at France 2019.

Four Chelsea players started this game, three on Norway’s side and one, Fran Kirby on England’s. She did not feature on the scoresheet, though not for a lack of trying, before making way with a quarter hour to play. Neither Karen Carney, nor Millie Bright, nor Carly Telford featured.

It was the usual trio of Chelsea Women for Norway, with new signing Guro Reiten posing an attacking threat and the center back pairing of Maren Mjelde and Maria Thorisdottir looking to keep things tidy at the back. Unfortunately for the latter two, they picked a bad time to have a bit of an off day, and conceding the goal just a couple minutes after kick-off certainly didn’t help. Still, it’s the furthest Norway have made it at a Women’s World Cup since 2007, and that’s something to be proud of.

For England, next up will be the winner of today’s massive France vs. USWNT matchup, in Tuesday’s semifinal.

The Copa América is down to the last eight ... last seven in fact after last night’s 0-0 draw between Brazil and their bogey team, Paraguay — Brazil had beaten Paraguay just three times in their previous ten meetings, which was just as many times as Paraguay had beaten Brazil! More pertinently, Paraguay had eliminated Brazil in the last two Copas (2011 and 2015) on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals.

So as last night’s match once again ticked into extra time and a shootout, the narrative was ready to strike one way or another. But this time, Brazil prevailed, with Alisson saving Paraguay’s first effort and Willian converting for Brazil’s first kick to set the tone. Earlier, Willian, who had arrived on the scene in the 71st minute, hit the post, which surely had the home fans thinking “here we go again”.

But instead, Brazil are into Tuesday’s semifinals, where they will meet the winner of today’s intriguing Venezuela vs. Argentina matchup, to set up a potential classic.

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